CALGARY, Canada — After 80 regular-season games, it is official: The Kings will be making their way to San Jose.
That’s where they will open the first round of the playoffs with many signs pointing to a Game 1 possibly Wednesday at San Jose.
The drama in Anaheim with the Ducks beating the Sharks paved the way and set up the playoff matchups. At the same time, there was an uneven game going on at the Scotiabank Saddledome as the Calgary Flames won, 4-3, needing a shootout after the Kings rallied from a three-goal deficit.
“It’s more of the same for us,” Dustin Brown of the Kings said of the Sharks. “We don’t need to do much homework on them because we know them and they know us. It’s always a battle against those guys.”
The Kings beat the Sharks in seven games last season in the playoffs in the second round. Are they expecting another physical battle?
“I would assume so,” forward Dwight King said. “They’re built the same way. We’re built the same way.”
On Wednesday, the Kings looked sloppy and disinterested, trailing, 3-0. They started the rally with two goals in a 24-second span by Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar late in the second period and pulled even on King’s effort, a deflection, at 12 minutes 18 seconds of the third.
There were no penalties in the game, the first time that has happened for the Kings since February 1977, when they played the Boston Bruins and neither team was called for a penalty. This was the first time Coach Darryl Sutter lost a game at Calgary since he left the Flames organization.
Defenseman Slava Voynov had two assists but the Kings were without two of their top six defensemen, Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr, both injured. King, who sat out four games, returned against the Flames, playing 12-plus minutes and said he felt fine and added that his goal was “lucky.”
Doughty, the Kings’ top defenseman, and Regehr are with the team on this trip and it is fair to say that they both would be in action if this were the playoffs. Regehr was a warrior during last year’s playoff run, in particular against Chicago.
“It’s important to get a game under you, if you can, just before playoffs,” Doughty said after Wednesday’s morning skate, speaking about the injury for the first time.
“Even just taking a game off, you kind of lose it. Sometimes that first or second shift is a difference maker. If you’re slacking at one point during that shift, they could score a goal and that could be the winner. Ideally, if I could get in a game before the playoffs, that’d be great.”
The Kings play Thursday at Edmonton and finish the regular season at home against the Ducks on Saturday.
“It’s just being cautious this time of the year … you’ve got to be,” Doughty said. “I’m ready to go whenever my name is called. Right now, it’s just up to the coaching staff and the trainers.”
Doughty got hurt on a routine check against the Sharks’ Tyler Kennedy in the first period.
“I think it’s the way I hit him is what caused it to happen,” Doughty said. “Stuff happens. Sometimes you make that hit and you’re going to knock the other guy over ... he kind of seemed prepared for it. It was like hitting a hard wall or something like that. I’ll make that hit many more times throughout the playoffs and throughout the season. Never going to shy away from that hit.”
When: 6:30 p.m.
On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 1150.
Etc.: Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins said that goalie Viktor Fasth will start against the Kings. With the Kings in a back-to-back situation, it is highly likely rookie Martin Jones will get the start.